Tuesday, October 22, 2013

HIgh class blooms and high flyers, Part 2

The Conservatory at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

Last year I wrote about my trip to judge the Garden Club of Virginia Rose Show at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond. I talked about the splendid blooms that stole the show, and the Butterflies Live! exhibit that stole my heart.

Randy Scott, Courtesy Tom Mayhew
I’ve just returned from judging the 2013 show and it turned out to be even more spectacular than last year.

Once again, Richmond’s Boxwood Garden Club treated the judges like visiting royalty by throwing a cocktail in the Lewis Ginter rose garden, followed by an excellent dinner (with lots of fine wine) in the Robins Tea House.

Lewis Ginter is a historic property (once owned by Patrick Henry) that features over 50 acres of gorgeous gardens and 9,000 types of plants. More than a dozen themed gardens include a Healing Garden, Sunken Garden, a Victorian garden, and an interactive Children’s Garden. There’s also a classical domed conservatory, a Garden Café, Tea Room and the most enticing gift shop I’ve visited.
A recent addition, but a stunner

The rose garden features more than 80 varieties and 1800 roses selected for repeat performance, fragrance and disease resistance. The visitors I saw were literally spoiled for choice when it came to finding the most sweetly scented blooms in the display.
Crystalline, Courtesy Tom Mayhew

If you are ever anywhere near Richmond, you owe it to yourself to take time to stop and see what I believe is one of the finest gardens in the east.

Snuffy, Courtesy Tom Mayhew
While the judges were chatting during the cocktail party, we heard some of the top exhibitors from several districts would be bringing blooms to the show. The next morning it was easy to see the rumors were correct as we had trouble deciding which bloom would be tapped for Queen.

In the end, Randy Scott took top honors with Crystalline and Snuffy close behind as King and Princess.

Mexican Bluewing
Once the judging was complete, I made a beeline for the North Wing of the Conservatory. I’d heard Butterflies Live! was back and couldn’t wait to have all those brilliant jewels fluttering around me once again.
Dad, is that you?

This year, a Chocolate Pansy (Junonia iphita) landed on the sleeve of my suit jacket and refused to budge. According to lore, this means a loved one from the past has come to say hello, or good luck will be coming my way. (I hope both legends are true.)

I also saw different varieties this trip including a False Zebra Longwing, Common Morpho, Mexican Bluewing and the Julia.

Sadly, the show moves on.

Common Morpho
The Garden Club of Virginia Show moves to a new venue every two years, so this was going to be my farewell trip to Richmond.

Our time there simply flew by. I will miss Lewis Ginter and many of my dear rose judging friends I don’t get to see very often now that we’ve moved to the mountains of North Carolina.

But between the hugs, the high class roses and high flying beauties, I have memories that will lift my spirits for months to come.



Jonah @ Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden said...

Lynn, We're so glad you got to enjoy the Rose Garden and the butterflies while you were here. It sounds like you really enjoyed your time here, and you got some excellent photos.
Butterflies will be back again in the spring, so I hope you are able to make it down anyway -- even though the Rose Show won't be here next year. ~Jonah

Shenandoah Kepler said...

We live about 2 hours north in Maryland and we have never visited Lewis Ginter, but your photos have made me put it on my calendar for next year. Thanks so much!

Lynn Hunt said...

Jonah, I will be delighted to come back anytime I am even close to Richmond. We are always so busy with the judging, I'd like to come just as a visitor so I can enjoy a leisurely stroll through all the various gardens.

Glad you enjoyed the photos! It was hard to take a picture of the butterfly on my sleeve while holding the camera with my left hand (:

Lynn Hunt said...

Shenandoah, I know you will enjoy your visit! Make sure you go when the butterflies are there. I wanted to stay with those beauties for hours (but had to be considerate of others waiting to enjoy the amazing display.)

Skeeter said...

I cannot tell you how many times we have driven through Richmond and never have we taken the time to Stop and Tour this garden. MIL has told me so much about it but going to see them (Saints parents in VA) takes up our priorities. We must stop some time...

Lynn Hunt said...

Skeeter, you will not be disappointed! But plan to go when the butterflies are there. They will be returning in May next year!

HolleyGarden said...

The butterflies are so beautiful. And what a wonderful place! I'm going to put it on my bucket list. The roses are beautiful, too. Must be extremely hard to judge so many perfect roses.

Lynn Hunt said...

HolleyGarden, I'm so glad you enjoyed the butterflies and roses. I was on "beauty overload" that day! Luckily when it comes to judging, there were eleven of us and we voted more than once. The first ballot was to pick five roses in any order. The second was to choose Queen. I think you can see why Randy Scott won!

Bren Haas said...

Your Blog is BEAUTIFUL!!!

Lynn Hunt said...

Thank you Bren! So glad you stopped by. Please come again soon!

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